People around the world use Airbnb as their side hustle or even their full-time job. For many Ukrainian hosts, the Russian invasion has disrupted everything about their lives, including their business. However, the international Airbnb community is stepping up to support hosts and funnel much-needed donations into the besieged nation. Thanks to a grassroots effort over March 2 and 3, people have booked 61,402 nights in Ukrainian Airbnbs and funneled almost $2 million to hosts in need.
The wave of support originated in a Facebook group for Airbnb hosts. Sarah Brown, a host in Salt Lake City, booked a room in Kyiv with host Ekaterina Martiusheva. Brown, of course, had no intention of checking in. However, Airbnb pays its hosts 24 hours after the stay starts. This makes it a quick and efficient way to get money to those on the ground in Ukraine. Martiusheva—who remains in Kyiv—has used phantom bookings to pay her cleaning staff, who otherwise would be out of a job. She told NPR, “These days we do not have any income. We do not have any right to ask our country to help us, because all the country's resources are for the war and for the victory.” Martiusheva stays because of her elderly parents, but also to support the army. “It's hard to protect to an empty city,” she says.
The idea of donation via bookings quickly took off. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted, “In 48 hours [between March 2 and 3], 61,402 nights have been booked in Ukraine. That’s $1.9M going to hosts in need.” Many Airbnbs are booked solid into the summer months, ensuring a stream of future income. Good samaritans have also been careful to book shared rooms and with hosts in smaller cities or the countryside. These hosts may perhaps be the most in need.
If you are interested in donating to help Ukrainians during this crisis, there are many ways. If you are looking to book an Airbnb as a show of support, check the listing to make sure it links to a Ukrainian host. Airbnb is also asking for volunteers to open their homes to refugees fleeing violence. The company has committed to offering free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. To learn more about how you can open your home to those who are losing theirs, check out the Airbnb website.
Creative supporters of Ukraine found a way to give by booking Airbnbs they never intended to stay in.
In 48 hours, 61,406 nights have been booked in Ukraine. That's $1.9M going to Hosts in need
Such a cool idea from our community. Thank you https://t.co/MEitgKB5Eo
— Brian Chesky 🇺🇦 (@bchesky) March 4, 2022
Since the invasion, people around the world have sent nearly $2 million to Ukrainian hosts.
I saw this idea and booked a locally owned AirBNB in Kyiv to help get money directly to the residents there. Air BNB have waived the fees for all Ukrainian properties 💛💙🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/B9MkCIAmu4
— Kay ♡ (@KayWestgate) March 4, 2022